“In the style of…” is a great way to explore other artists and art methods work. This exercise has two definitive steps. Firstly choosing the artist or artistic technique. Then following up with exploring the ideas you identify in it in your own work.
Identify the artist, artwork or artistic technique.
For some this will be easy, for others much more difficult. I would immediately recommend starting with your favorite artist. I suggest seeing who comes to mind. Often the first one is the best. For me I like to brainstorm onto a white board. For the past week I have struggled with which exercise to throw at you next. I was still stuck on ‘Camera Cuddle’. It wasn’t until this morning when I started mapping out ideas into categories that they suddenly started to pour out of me, and within a few minutes I had a the next few months sorted. The act of writing it down helped it come out. So brainstorm with a piece of paper and a pencil.
Turning to artworks that you love or are attracted too is very important. I would prefer your choice to be steered to the fine arts. Mediums such as painting, drawing, printmaking etc. But, if you like you can turn to other photographic artists if you must.
Analyse the artist, artwork or process. What makes it work? What are you attracted too? What is the essence? Write this down too. How does it work visually? Explore. Document.
Try to photograph or process in the style.
Hopefully now the fun bit. You can either try to photograph in that style, which is probably my preferred choice. Or alternatively you are welcome to process one of your photographs into that style. I mean really trying to process into that style rather than relying on modern technology to do it for you. (here I am referring to something like Prisma, that allows you to process into art styles in just one click. Great fun, but not what we are trying to achieve.)
If you are really struggling at this step, you may need to research some how. You may even need to learn a new technique to pull off what you are envisioning. If it all gets too hard, you can always consider going back to which artist, artwork or artistic technique and choose another.
It is important here not to get too caught up in making something exactly like your imagination. You are exploring. Going into new territory. The outcome isn’t important. It is the journey. Make art that talks to you.
Post your favorite photograph in the comments bellow.
It would be lovely if you would explain the techniques you used. But please leave out your inspiration.
Here is another opportunity to explore.
So instead of telling us the style you are exploring, look at the work of others and see if you can guess which style it is. Put your guesses into threaded comments bellow each photograph. To do this choose reply when making a comment.
Please ensure you are on this page on the website when you post your photograph.
This is a tonal drop out. I have taken a very contrasty photograph of some water and sticks that I took from a bird hide near South West Rocks. I have increased the contrast by moving both the black and white points in the tone curve. Included below is the snap shot of my tone curve from Lightroom.
Can you guess what my inspiration was? For those that know me well, I will give you a hint, for it was part of my minor at art school, but using a technique I haven’t tried since high school.
I picked up the title and idea for this exercise from Shirley Steel, who tells me is an old camera club challenge.
South West Rocks Wetlands, Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2019